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tv   Rock Center With Brian Williams  NBC  October 18, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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. - yo, you ready to go? - why, yes, i am, april! let's go now! - what's wrong with you? - [fake laugh] wonderful! hey, be careful out there. traffic is nuts on the streets and roads. - oh, no! they got you! - ha, ha, ha, ha, ah, ha, ha. terrific! hey, i'm hungry. let's go eat some batteries-- i mean, human food. - hey, uh, batteries-- i mean, human food sounds good to me. wonderful.
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- let's go. - [laughs] they're sometimes called study drugs. they're prescription medicines >> kate snow's intimate portrait of one ivy league studt shows how destructive study drugs can be. >> in about five seconds' time, you've gone from straight "a" student to handcuffs. also, saving the orangutan. their habitat is being destroyed for a common household product. the all-out effort to save a great species. >> we got it. we got it. >> why did you feel you needed to get him out of there?
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>> these things will be gone in 12 months. >> he wouldn't have survived in there? >> no, no. this is the last resort. and the world of tory burch. her huge success, her sure sense of style. her fabulous life in new york. >> obviously i love color. >> and what she admits to harry smith is the question she was dreading about the feud with her ex-husband who helped get her started. >> you have business interests together. you're not married any longer. it can't be easy. >> i think it's been tough. it's been a challenge. also tonight, why it is the state of maine can't seem to stay out of the news these days. that and more as "rock center" gets under way. good evening and welcome to "rock center" and we begin tonight with a story of interest to families all across this country because right now in dorm rooms and bedrooms all across this country, there are students going about their work under the influence of
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prescription medications like adderall and ritalin with the goal of doing better in school. these drugs make a big difference for those with attention deficit disorders. but then there are the others who choose to take them illegally hoping for sharper focus and better grades. tonight, kate snow starts us off by introducing us to a young man who thought he'd discovered a e medicinal shortcut to success. >> reporter: it was exam time at one of the nation's most prestigious schools, columbia university in new york. and the pressure was on. >> 20-page papers, all kinds of revisions, presentations, six classes. there's a lot of stuff that needs to get done. >> reporter: stefan perez was powering through the usual way. >> two or three days, i'm up. >> reporter: all the way through the night? >> yeah. >> reporter: how are you doing that? >> adderall. >> reporter: adderall? >> adderall. >> reporter: it's a drug we've all heard about, widely
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prescribed for attention deficit disorders. but this isn't a story about adhd. it's a story of an ambitious student and many, many more who have misused adderall to get an edge, with surprising candor, stefan is telling us how his inspiring climb to the ivy league ended in disgrace. growing up in modest circumstances in mar tiettmarie georgia, during a visit to new york city when he was just 13, he saw columbia's campus and that was it. >> i had only one goal. i woke up in the morning, it was columbia. i went to sleep at nigh, it was columbia. i stopped playing sports. >> reporter: you stopped? >> yeah. i knew it was going to take 300% of my effort to get to that school. >> reporter: he got in. what's more, he won a coveted gates millennium scholarship. his mom gloria was so proud. >> he was the light in our family, in our community. he was our hero.
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>> reporter: you've gone into columbia, your dream school. and you have a full ride basically. that's huge. >> yes. >> reporter: but once the school year began, euphoria turned to anxiety. stefan found himself unprepared for the heavy workload. for the first time, he wasn't getting straight as. >> i thought, this is shocking, i've never gotten a "b" in my life. >> reporter: then sophomore year, his beloved grandmother died and stefan says he hit a wall. one night in the library, she was struggling while studying with a friend. >> i told him. i can't concentrate, i can't do it. and he pulls out an adderall pill from his prescription. i said, why not? i took it. and boom, it hit. i had tunnel vision. everything else was not even in the zone. it was me and my books. i was just scanning pages like a machine. >> reporter: taking it all in? >> yeah. i wouldn't even want to go get up to drink water. >> they call it the college
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crack. they call it the study drug. they call it the focus. when you hear those terms, you know right there people are talking about adderall. >> reporter: r.l. hill, special agent with the drug enforcement administration, says student who is abuse adderall don't seem to realize the risk they're taking. >> it's treated as the same class as cocaine, as oxycontin, as oxycodone. you can be arrested and charged with a felony because you are violating the law. >> reporter: just for giving it to somebody? >> just for giving it to somebody. it's considered illegal distribution. >> reporter: you could end up in jail? >> you could end up in jail. >> reporter: how easy is it to get this stuff? >> almost as easy as buying stuff at the bookstore. kids will not have a drink throughout the year, they will go crazy for adderall the day before their paper is due. >> i've had students say to me f you don't diagnose me, i will find my way and i'll get it from somebody else. >> reporter: this is a new york neuropsychologist.
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she says stefan is like a lot of ambitious kids in high school and college who misuse attention deficit medications like adderall to perform better academically. >> there's a basic belief in the value that getting ahead beats everything. and you can do anything to get ahead. so it's not perceived as cheating, although i would argue it is. >> reporter: she says it's not just kids. parents are to blame, too, especially during the s.a.t.s. >> parents will come in and tell me that their child has a serious learning issue and really should be diagnosed as add and needs medication. >> reporter: parents say this to you? >> indeed they do. >> reporter: to give their kids a leg jue on the test? >> correct. >> reporter: why don't kids think this is a big deal? this is a controlled substance. >> because, you're doing very well when you're taking it, most of the time. i've never heard anyone say, i took adderall and did terrible on my exam. it's like an academic steroid. >> reporter: i was just thinking
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that. it's like taking steroids in sports. >> barry bonds in the library, absolutely. >> reporter: and before long, stefan says he wanted ready access to his own supply. >> i asked my friend, how did you get that prescription? he said, go to psychological health services. >> reporter: on campus? >> yes. tell them you're having trouble studying, focusing, they'll ask you a few questions and they'll give you a prescription. >> reporter: all it took, he says, was a meeting with a psychologist at student health services in this building who asked him to fill out a simple questionnaire. he also met with a psychiatrist. he says it was just ten minutes. the doctor asked him if he'd ever taken adderall? >> i said, is this a trick question? i said, yeah, a friend of mine
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gave me one of his pills from his prescription. i took it and it made me really productive. he said, perfect, i think this is the right prescription for you. >> reporter: hold on. he didn't say, you shouldn't have taken someone else's prescription, that's not medically advisable? >> right. >> reporter: he talked out, prescription in hand. because he was over 18, no one notified his parents. we asked columbia for an interview. the university declined to comment on this case. but in a statement said, its student health service uses a detailed clinical protocol for evaluation of a.d.h.d. and related conditions and takes a hoe lifk approach towards treatment for a.d.h.d., including short-term counseling. >> you get tolerant to the medication. you have to take more and more and more. that's when the risks start showing up. >> reporter: and when you stop, you crash. >> basically you get really depressed, no energy, sleep all the time. and the depression can be severe enough that people have become
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suicidal. >> reporter: stefan experienced bad mood swings when he was on adderall. so when he didn't need to study, he wouldn't take the medicine. that left him with extra pills to share. first he gave them away. then he started taking money. what was the going rate? >> going rate could be anywhere from $10 to $30. >> reporter: stefan says most of the transactions happened in the library. would you hand it under the desk? >> no. on the desk. >> reporter: no one was watching you don't think they're going to come up to you and tell you you're committing a crime? >> no. the kid's diagonal to me is doing the same thing. >> reporter: how would you feel about someone doing that? >> i felt the way i felt eight months before when i was paying someone $10. i was like, oh, my god, thank you. now i can write this essay.
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>> reporter: you were taking money. you had to know that that was wrong. >> well, i didn't see it that way. >> reporter: by the time midterms came around junior year 2010, he was in deep. after a three-day study binge he finally went back to his fraternity house to sleep. hours later -- >> it was an explosive bang that was followed by this red battering ram that knocked my door down, knocked it open. >> reporter: it was an early morning raid. stefan was caught up in a drug bust. the nypd's operation ivy league, a five-month undercover investigation. stefan was charged with selling adderall. he was shocked to find himself locked up with four other columbia students who were arrested for dealing drugs like ecstasy, marijuana and cocaine. in about five seconds' time, you'd gone from a straight "a" student, millennium gates
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scholar at columbia university to handcuffs? >> yeah. life took a drastic turn. >> reporter: what's going through your head as you're making that walk? >> my mom. my little sister, what are they thinking? >> it's a bad dream. it's something -- you don't want to accept it. you just can't accept that. he'd never been in trouble. he was a good student, a good person, good friends. >> reporter: stefan pleaded guilty to selling adderall and did 300 hours of community service. columbia expelled him. but before that, stefan was permitted to take his final exams to complete the first semester of his junior year. >> so i took finals in five classes. i did it without adderall. it took me longer than i was used to. but i finished them all. i did well in all those classes.
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>> reporter: you didn't need that drug? >> i didn't need that drug. i feel like a lot of people don't need that drug. >> kate snow here with us. we've agreed not to say where he is. >> right. >> but how's he doing? >> stefan is doing well now. he went through a rocky time after all that. we said side effects and when you come off the drug, you can be moody and depressed. he was depressed for a while. he's now at another university finishing his degree. >> while we point out for those who are prescribed this and who need it, it can be a wonder drug. how prevalent is the illegal use? >> it's okay for people with a.d.h.d. but there's no real way to study. the latest study says of college students, 10% self-reported taking it without a doctor telling them to take it. everyone in the field thinks that's low, 10% is probably low on how many kids are actually taking this. it's all over the country at probably every college call pus.
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>> kate snow, thanks as always. still ahead, a profile of our designing woman. tory burch. her fans love her look and even back when she was working for the man she knew she had her own vision. and up next, the battle under way to save a spectacular primate. why they are losing the habitat around them and how fast it's happening. >> this is a question of time. if we can stop clearing any more land right now, then these animals have a hope. but if we don't do it right now, they'll all be gone before the end of the year. lives of over 100 million americans. that's why our newest large capacity front load has over 35% more speed to clean clothes, faster. we put more in, so you get more out.
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every year, without raising taxes. leggett: and audits will ensure the money goes... where it's supposed to. more jobs, and millions for schools. baker: question seven will be good for our kids... our teachers, and our schools. leggett: keep maryland money in maryland. baker: please vote for question seven. leggett: vote for question seven. welcome back. the species of animals we share tonight, nbc's ian williams reports on what could be the
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last stand of one of our closest relatives. >> reporter: these men are hunting wildhunt hunting orangutans in this jungle not to kill them but to save them. leading the hunt is ian singleton, the director of the sumatran orangutan conservation organization. movement sends them scrambling. then the trail goes cold until they spot their target high in the canopy and take aim with a tranquilizer gun. >> we got it, we got it. >> reporter: as the sedative takes effect, the next challenge is to safely catch the orangutan has he falls. it does look horrific, but this really is the only way of saving these vulnerable animals. they name the 14-year-old male harry and will release him back
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into a pristine forest several hours away. why did you feel you needed to get him out of there? >> it's a risky business. this is the last resort. we have no choice. he can have another life of another 40 years or he can stay here and die of starvation. >> reporter: this is why. the habitat is being illegally burned. the trees to produce palm oil. this cheap oil is found in roughly half of all packaged supermarket products from instant noodles to ice cream and is bringing jobs and development to indonesia, now the world's biggest supplier. but at what cost? >> if we can stop clearing any more land right now, these animals have a hope. but if we don't do it right now, they'll all be gone before the end of the year. >> reporter: when you see these
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highwire performers move with ease across the tree tops, you understand his passion. orangutans share 97% of our dna. and it's not hard to understand their curiosity and intelligence. but man's closest living relative could become the first species to face extinction in the wild. >> we have a moral obligation to save as many species as we can. >> reporter: singleton first came to sumatra as a student researching the red apes. his more than 20 years here have left him angered and moved by their plight and determined to fight for their survival. and singleton is stepping up the fight to save what remains with a surprising new weapon. >> engage engines, 1, 2, 3. >> reporter: his eye in the sky, a drone with a tiny onboard camera shows why the island that was once called the emerald of
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the equator isn't anymore, providing proof of the illegal deforestation. >> most people associate drones with warfare. >> reporter: do you see yourselves engaged in a battle against these plantations? >> i guess you could call it that. >> reporter: this was once orangutan paradise. but it's now a paradise under siege. until just a few months ago, all this was pristine forest, one of the richest eco systems on the planet and home to scores of orangutans. now it looks this, a scarred and scorched wasteland for just about as far as the eye can see, another victim of the relentless march of the palm oil business. clearing by fire is illegal. but the indonesian government has long failed to enforce that law. over the past 20 years, here alone an astonishing 190 square miles have been cleared to make
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way for palm oil plantations. and singleton estimates the
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orangutan population is down t 0 .
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. i was wondering whether you could talk to us about the activities of your company. your company is under investigation, yes? >> i can't speak english. >> reporter: could you tell us about the -- i'm merely trying to get a response to these accusations. accusations. could you talk to us? after our visit, the company had one of its operating permits revoked. but that's only the first step in what's likely to be a long battle to save the orangutans' remaining habitat. meanwhile, singleton has found a new home for his refugees when they're ready to return. it's an undisturbed part of the forest. getting here isn't easy, which is probably a good thing for the orangutans, 30 of which have been released, including harry.
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it must be very satisfying when you're out there seeing them back in the trees, back in this habitat again. >> seeing them in the wild, it makes me feel what i'm doing is extremely worthwhile. >> ian williams, we don't get to see often right here because you're posted in asia. you're here tonight. anyone with any empathy is wondering what can we do? >> look at the labels, brian. there are so many products now that contain palm oil. if we look at the labels and challenge the companies, write letters, find out where they're sourcing their palm oil from because they may tell us they're doing it in a responsible way. but so many of them don't look hard enough. and consumer power can be enough. ask them if they're confident their palm oil comes from plantations which are not destroying the habitat of the orangutan. also another way is to adopt an
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orangutan, not literally. they may be cute and cuddly. but we shouldn't be taking them home. but a virtual adoption. ian singleton's organization has a website which we have the address of on our website where we can sponsor an orangutan, one of those little toddlers, support its rehabilitation. it costs $1,000 a year to look after these toddlers, and receive information about how well they're doing, brian. >> we'll link to all of that on our website tonight. ian, thank you very much. when we continue tonight f you know the logo and know it means tory burch, tonight, harry smith will venture inside her billion-dollar empire. >> do you know what women want? >> i think some of the things i want translate to what women want. i would say i've learned what women want along the way. c wildy is the same frequent heartburn treatment as prilosec otc. now with a fancy coating
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with this enchanting union, she'd had a sunroof, and a chauffeur to instruct. james! prom jackpot. download zeebox free, and have the night of your life with your tv. welcome back. millions of people in this country know her logo instantly. it stands for a look they like, a distinct style. it means tory burch. she's been a wildly successful designer. and yet her company has be around for less than a decade. she doesn't just sell clothes. she sells a kind of elegant living, something we now get a glimpse of tonight as harry smith takes us inside the world of tory burch. >> reporter: it's a crisp weekday morning when dozens of women crowd into the tory burch store in long island.
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there's a pleasantly perfumed buzz in the air. for the women, many dressed in burch attire, are here to meet the face and the force behind a fashion phenomenon. no matter that two women show up in identical tory burch outfit, they purr with appreciation for the other's good taste. >> that dress looks fantastic on her. >> reporter: no matter that not everyone can easily fit into her clothes. >> i'm not asking for anything else but the plus size cardigan. that's the only thing i would love. >> reporter: these women can so easily rub elbows with the head of a brand with an estimated $2 billion, it's part of the tory burch mystique. >> can i show you something. >> reporter: she is an ideal modern woman, beautiful but nice, rich but also generous. powerful yet approachable. you have become the face of the company. when you started all of this, were you prepared for that part?
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>> when i launched the company, i was very nervous about using my own name. i didn't want to say tory burch. i'm a very private person. i'm okay with being the face of our brand. it's taken me a while to be okay with it. but i'm also not okay with my life being public property. >> reporter: in just eight years, tory burch has built an international fashion empire, she creates and the hearts of women cry out "i want, i want." do you know what women want? >> oh, gosh, that's such a hard question. i know what i want. i think some of the things i want translate to what women want. i would say i've learned what women want along the way. >> people love her. they want to be her. they want her life. and she's really nice. tory is not a kind of monstrous, crazy fashionista.
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she's a well-liked, respected woman. >> reporter: joanna is one of the most influential decision makers and tory watchers. >> this is a woman that men fight over. she's stated famous people. lance armstrong. it all adds to the mystique of tory burch. her clothes exude that. >> reporter: part psychology, part commerce. and today make up the alchemy of marketing. with a season's worth of sales estimates along with tory's reputation, the fashion world gathers at new york's lincoln center to pass judgment on her fall collection. that the 47-year-old tory burch would one way wave from the end of the runway was not preordained. >> i grew up in vali forge, pennsylvania, on a farm. >> reporter: were howyou a tomb? >> i was. >> reporter: she credits her
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parents for their fashion sense and even displays photos of them in her stores. >> they were the biggest inspiration when i was starting to company already they look so glamorous. >> my father had an impeccable style. he designed all his own clothing. >> reporter: buddy robinson once dated actress grace kelly. tory's mom went out with steve mcgreen. glamour was in tory's dna. >> this was named after my mother. she's happy and sad that she's known for a shoe. >> reporter: tory studied art history at college. but right after graduation began a series of jobs in fashion public relations and marketing. tory worked at "harper's baza bazaar." you called people out of the blue and say, i want to show you my ideas. >> my image book.
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>> reporter: not a sketch book, but collections of clippings from magazines and catalogs, part research, part inspiration, images of what she thought was missing when she went to shop. >> i have about 30 of these books. >> reporter: she had ideas but frankly few clues as to how to launch the business. >> i'd never been to business school. i've never been to design school. and it was a risk. it was putting myself out there in a way that was opening myself up for criticism. i'm a sensitive person. so it was hard. >> reporter: despite the doubts, her husband at the time, venture capitalist chris burch, helped her raise $10 million. and they put in $2 million of their own. by the way, at this point, there was also their three sons and his three daughters. her first store opened in new york city in 2004. and within ten months, oprah called. >> new york style setter tory burch is being hailed as the next big thing in fashion.
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i just started wearing her clothes a lot. >> reporter: it put tory on the fashion map. the business started on a kitchen table. >> yes, for two years i worked out of my apartment. >> reporter: out of your apartment. >> until i had about 16 employees. >> reporter: that's only eight years ago. >> yeah. >> reporter: how many employees do you have now? >> we have about 2,000. that's crazy. >> reporter: beautiful. >> thank you very much. >> reporter: and a good portion of those employees could probably fit into the luxurious fifth avenue apartment she now inhabits. >> it's a moss green. love this color. but i like the play of turks. obviously i love color. >> reporter: while you may never get to visitory at home, if you drop by a tory burch store like the flagship on madison avenue, you'll feel as if you have stepping into -- is there anything in this room that you didn't give approval to?
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>> no, there's not. people laugh when they come in here after being at my apartment. >> reporter: but what you can't do at tory's apartment is shop. i'm going to look and see. $425. that's not phenomenally expensive. but it's not inexpensive. >> it's definitely not inexpensive. but to find a dress for $425 that you can wear into the evening is a pretty reasonable price. >> reporter: it must be working because in addition to boutiques in 1,000 department stores, there are now 82 stand-alone tory burch stores with more on the way. tory oversees a team of designers and craftspeople. >> this looks a little blurry. >> reporter: the final say, though, is always hers. >> it should be a bit shorter. the shoes look a little big. >> reporter: there seems little question tory burch has made it. and the sky, as they say, is the limit, except for one not-so-small problem.
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here comes the question you don't want. >> i was waiting all day. >> and harry gets his answer when we come right back. so anyway, i've been to a lot of places. you know, i've helped a lot of people save a lot of money. but today...( sfx: loud noise of large metal object hitting the ground) things have been a little strange. (sfx: sound of piano smashing) roadrunner: meep meep. meep meep? (sfx: loud thud sound) what a strange place. geico®. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. with your favorite instant coffee same great taste, now with a great new look that can be ready in a... [ pop! ] ♪ folgers instant coffee the taste you love just got more instant.
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welcome back. after less than ten years in business, "forbes" magazine named tory burch one of the most powerful women in the world. the only real trouble on the horizon for tory burch and her $2 billion brand is a feud with her ex-husband. here once again is harry smith. >> reporter: at least some of the credit for tory burch's success must go to her parents. remember the black-and-white photos in her stores? >> i was raised by my parents that any skepticism and negativity should be noised. they never had me believe that i couldn't do anything i wanted to
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do. >> reporter: tory knew what she wanted to do. and she turned to the one person who could help her make that happen. you go to your husband at the time, chris burch, and say, i want to start this company. and he says what? >> he said, you know, work on a concept and let's look at it. he had started a company in college and had a bit of experience in the industry. he was supportive but a little trepidati trepidaciuos. >> reporter: in 2004, that first store was an immediate hit. do you remember how the store did that first day? >> it was, number one, a complete surprise. we basically filter our inventory the first day. it was almost as if we were giving things away. i think people really lost any shyness they ever had. they start changing in the middle of the store. we knew we were on to something that first day. >> reporter: but as the brand was taking off, their marriage fell apart. tory and chris burch divorced in
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2006. but about a year ago, chris burch opened up a new series of stores called c. wonder. the stores bear a striking resemblance to tory's, as does the merchandise but at a much lower cost. even the logos look alike. here comes the question you don't want. >> i was waiting all day. >> reporter: some people walk into the stores and say, this looks like tory burch. have you seen this stuff? >> i have seen the stuff. and some of it is too referential. and i think he's going to be changing that. some of it is great. so i think it's about finding the balance of what is okay with us and what works for him. >> reporter: would that it were all that simple. soon after we spoke, tory's ex-husband sued her and her company, claiming they had impeded the running of his business and that tory has launched a vicious campaign against him. as fashion feuds go, this one has turned downright ugly. >> i don't find it surprising
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that people might think that chris burch is going after tory's market because at some point they must have had a lot in common to be married and they must have taste in common. my reading of c. wonder is it's much more junior. it's a much, much cheaper line than tory's. it doesn't have the elegance and the grown-up aspiration that tory's does. tory really is a fashion designer at this point. >> reporter: in the lawsuit, chris burch demeans his ex-wife's prior experience in the fashion industry saying it was limited to public relations and marketing. she told us he helped with the money and not much more. is he involved in the company in any way now? >> he's not involved. he helped me raise the money. and he was never here day to day, never had an office here. but he was more of a board member. >> reporter: while no longer a board member, chris burch still has a representative on her board of directors and remains one of the biggest shareholders.
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how does that work? you have children together. you have business interests together. you're not married any longer. it can't be easy. >> i think it's been tough. it's been a challenge. we have six kids that we love and at the end of the day, that's what we both think about. >> reporter: success for tory burch, it seems, comes with a pretty hefty price tag. yet in all the time we spent with her, we never saw a hint of tension or anxiety. a newspaper once described you as perfectly perfect. >> i'm so far from it. >> reporter: yeah? >> i'm not saying i'm not happy and it isn't good. but i'm far from perfect. >> i've got to say full disclosure, my first encounter with her, she invited me to an event for cancer patients. when i arrived, i discovered she spent a lot of time and a lot of money very privately. she does give back. i assumed we reached out to chris.
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>> we did. he was not interested in being interviewed for our story. >> how did you find her? >> all of the things that we showed in that story, the kind of e quinimity of grace, intelligent and unflappable to be under so much pressure and trying to do so many things, we trying to do so many things, we never saw a crack. >> harry smith, thank you. >> pleasure. up next, a closer look at some of what went on this week, including something very familiar we spotted during the debate. me, she said... jack, you're a little boring. boring. boring. [ jack ] so i went to the citi private pass page and decided to be...not boring. that's how i met marilyn... ♪ ...giada... really good. yes! [ jack ] ...and alicia. ♪ this girl is on fire ♪ this girl is on fire ♪
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[ male announcer ] use any citi® card to get the benefits of private pass. more concerts. more events. more experiences. [ jack ] hey, who's boring now? [ male announcer ] get more access with a citi card. [ crowd cheering, mouse clicks ] aflac... and major medical? major medical, boyyy, yeah! [ beatboxing ] berr, der berrp... ♪ i help pay the doctor ♪ ain't that enough for you? ♪ there's things major medical doesn't do. aflac! pays cash so we don't have to fret. [ together ] ♪ something families should get ♪ ♪ like a safety net ♪ help with food, gas and rent, so cover your back, with... ♪ a-a-a-a-a-a-a-aflac! [ male announcer ] help protect your family at [ beatboxing ] prego?! but i've bought ragu for years. [ thinking ] wonder what other questionable choices i've made? i choose date number 2! whooo! [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego.
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we've decided to give what we do at this point in the broadcast and we're going with "rock bottom." its placement having nothing to do with content. as we do look back at the news so far this week, includes what's been called the most
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contentious presidential debate of the modern era. >> here is brian williams. >> let's begin with the thriller at hofstra. it was watched by more than 65 million of us. if portions of the debate looked like an earlier time, well, let's talk about that. beginning with the white-only section, though not by design, still there was more diversity on the stage than in that whole seating area. then there were the circa 1995 disposable cameras the college gave out to prevent people from tweeting notes in real time. so they all got to walk back in time. and finally if these debates look familiar, oh, sure, the candidates change over the years but if they continue to look very 1988, that's because the uberpowerful, always mysterious commission on presidential debates hasn't changed the look, the set, the podiums since then. the whole vibe is locked in
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another time in keeping with how the commission apparently likes their debates while binders full of women was the news of the night, there was also this cnn report about mitt romney's pre-debate prep. correspondent dan ashe bash said, quote, we're told the said, quote, we're told the governor had to practice getting up on the stool because he's not used to sitting on a stool. he's a mormon, he doesn't go to bars, he doesn't hang out on schools very much, discuss if you wish. in the meantime, let's go north to maine. if we dare, it's been wild up there these days, the state that gave up lobster bibs with butter on the side has now given us zumba classes with prostitution on the side. at least that's the allegation about the shapely instructor and a lot of men have a lot of explaining to do after being publicly shamed. then the earth moved, for real. a 4.0 quake felt from portland to boston and beyond. and because of maine's innate
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modesty and feared being called out by californians, they posted their own theme. an unexpected moment came during our interview with ethel kennedy. her daughter's made a documentary about her mom. and with this week's 50th anniversary of the cuban missile crisis in mind, i asked the widow of bobby kennedy, the sister-in-law of jfk, what she remembered about fidel castro who, it turns out, she's met several times. >> he was very warm, very emotional. he clearly would have liked to have been friends with president kennedy and with bobby. >> reporter: it certainly didn't work out that way. and of the three men, only castro survives. there are ghosts of another kind on the web this week. "the daily mail" has a series of photos altered by a dutch woman. they show the streets of french
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cities and towns as they are today with overlaid images of the exact same spot during world war ii. the soldiers allied and german appear as ghosts and we're left to wonder what came of them all and what would have become of all of us had it gone the other way. beam toward to today, a big trending topic this week is the psat, trending because of widespread fear among millions of psta takers who are suddenly required to write a statement in curse to prove their identities. part of the problem here is our eubiquitous devices. there are two types of people, blackberry people and all the others, androids, iphones, with the virtual keyboard that can have you answering yers when yum yes. blackberry love their keys that you can actually press. but it comes at a cost.
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this week, "the new york times" called blackberry users the black sheep of the device world, to which they answered in unison -- >> from my cold, dead hands -- >> with special thanks to the late charlotten heston. tomorrow on "today," president obama and governor romney sharing a stage again tonight in a non-debate format. an event going on just a few blocks from here, in fact. the al smith dinner, a longtime political election year tradition here in new york. we'll have all the highlights tomorrow morning on "today." and here's a hint, they got along for the most part tonight. next week here on "rock center," i'll be reporting from the campaign trail with the president during this critical home stretch. we're inside 20 days. plus, the story of what happened to this young hero. very surprising treatment changed his life and as natalie morales reports, a video game could transform how we treat
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pain. >> going into snow world. are we done? >> how would you rate your pain? >> putting the headphones on shut everything out. so i wasn't even really aware of anything else going on but the game. >> an interesting story we're excited to bring to you next week on "rock center." for everyone who works so hard to bring you this broadcast, thank you for being here with us tonight. i hope to see you tomorrow evening for "nbc nightly news." for now, good night from new york. you're late local news


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